The Ashley Gang: What really happened

A gumshoe follows the trail of the Ashley Gang 83 years after their shooting deaths to reveal who did what at the Sebastian Bridge and why


Ed Register was just 7 when he was walking one morning with his father to the family’s barrel factory in downtown Fort Pierce and saw a crowd gathering outside Will Fee’s Hardware and Mortuary. The image has seared his memory for more than eight decades.

“I wish my father never brought me there,” says Register, now 90. “ I was only 7 years old, but I remember seeing those dead bodies laid out on the sidewalk.”

Register, who spent his professional career running chambers of commerce in Fort Pierce and Boca Raton, is surprised to hear from me. But as far as I can tell, he is the only living person who remembers that November morning in 1924 in which the four bodies of the Ashley Gang were laid out after being shot by lawmen at the Sebastian Bridge the night before.

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